Epsom and St Helier is investing £2 million in the cleaning, catering and portering teams who help to keep patients safe and support hospital and community services 24/7, in a move which will improve pay and benefits for these vital staff members.
From 1 June 2021, the staff will once more become NHS employees at the Trust, as the current contract (which was held by provider MITIE) comes to an end after a successful six years. In re-joining the NHS family, the cleaning, catering and portering staff will see a number of benefits, including an uplift in pay to ensure all staff are paid the London Living Wage – a 12% increase on current pay for some 440 staff, based on the increased London Living Wage for 2021/22.
Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles said: “Our cleaning, portering and catering teams are absolutely at the heart of our hospitals and community services. Their work has become even more crucial during the pandemic – cleanliness, professional portering of sick patients, and catering that powers our staff and keeps patients well-fed and hydrated, has never been so important.
“As the current contract comes to an end, we’ve looked at what’s best for the staff, our hospitals and services, and what provides best value for taxpayer’s money. Having fully assessed our options, and with the support of our Trust Board, we look forward to taking our cleaning, portering and catering services back into the NHS family as part of the Trust’s Estates and Facilities Team. We would like to thank Mitie for its high quality support and service since 2015.”
The Trust has agreed to invest more than £2 million annually to ensure all staff are paid the London Living Wage from 1 June 2021, meaning a 12% pay increase for all non-supervisory staff in these roles. It will be the biggest staffing investment the Trust will make in the next financial year and also improves benefits for those staff, placing them on direct contracts with the Trust.
Daniel said: “We have pledged to support equality, and this move is central to that commitment. Some 40% of our cleaning, catering and portering staff are from BAME communities – communities already hit particularly hard by COVID-19. This is absolutely the right time to welcome these teams back to the NHS family, with all of the benefits that brings.”
For more information about Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust, visit www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk.